Social worker wins discrimination case against GSCC

A mental health social worker has won a disability discrimination case against the General Social Care Council after it delayed approval of his registration due to issues raised by his HIV-positive status.

Leeds Employment Tribunal found that the GSCC had unlawfully discriminated against the man in a reserved judgement last month. The GSCC was ordered to pay £2,166.02 in compensation.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, won a scholarship in 2004 from his employer to train as a social worker. As the employer had previously carried out a medical examination and was aware of his HIV status, he was not required to complete a health disclosure when registering at the university in Yorkshire. 

On applying to the GSCC for registration in December 2005, while on the second and final year of his course, he declared his HIV status, which led to his application being referred for review due to his health condition. While his fellow students had their applications processed in an average of 62 days, he had heard nothing about his case by 12 June 2006, when he contacted his case worker.

He was told the GSCC was reviewing his application after questioning the trustworthiness of his character because he had not disclosed his HIV status to the university. His registration was not confirmed until the following month.

“I was made to feel like I’d done something wrong simply because I was HIV positive – and given the understanding that my whole future was in jeopardy. I was devastated as it put my integrity, morality and honesty into question,” he said.

The tribunal found that the case worker’s lack of training led her to wrongly question the practitioner’s trustworthiness. It also said the system under which his application was not processed for several months due to his condition was flawed.

The GSCC was unavailable for comment.

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